What is an articling position with the Court of Appeal?
The Court of Appeal of Alberta gives students a chance to work with the Court for 10 months as part of the articling term required by the Law Society of Alberta. A further 5 months of articling with a law firm is required to complete the articling term requirement.
What does an article with the Court of Appeal offer?
The articling program at the Court of Appeal exposes students to as many aspects of the appeal process as practicable. In addition to researching and preparing memoranda on law or facts, students sit in on appeals and chambers applications, and often discuss issues with appellate judges before and after hearings. Post-hearing, students may assist the judges with the research and editing of reasons for judgment and orders. As the highest court in the province, the Court of Appeal regularly makes new law and students play an important role in assisting the justices in this process. In this way, students develop strong legal reasoning and writing skills. They also gain insight into appellate reasoning and observe some of Alberta’s best litigators.
During the course of their articles, students are exposed to a variety of areas of the law including family, criminal, employment, contract, tort and administrative law. As well, some of their work involves litigation about commercial, property or corporate issues of interest to future solicitors. Students report that articling with the Court of Appeal is rewarding, stimulating and interesting.
What else is involved in addition to working on appeals?
Students may assist judges with papers and speeches to be presented outside the Court, and occasionally, they have assisted with research on court administration matters.
Students are also encouraged to watch all types of proceedings in the Court of Queen’s Bench and in Provincial Court, and to discuss both the substantive and procedural aspects of those proceedings with the presiding judge.
What other educational opportunities are there?
At the commencement of articles, students receive orientation to the Court and to aspects of legal research from Legal Counsel and Court librarians.
Over the course of the articling year, students attend seminars by Justices of the Court of Appeal and Court of Queen’s Bench covering a broad range of practice areas. These seminars given by the Justices in their fields of expertise is an opportunity not available to any non-Court student.
Students intending to be called to the Alberta bar participate in the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education program (CPLED) and may attend CPLED tutorials offered by Alberta Justice.
What resources are available to students?
Students are assigned a judge as a principal, but have contact with all the judges of the Court of Appeal, who sit equally in both Edmonton and Calgary. As well, students can seek information and advice from the Legal Counsel and librarians at the Court. Students meet regularly with Legal Counsel to discuss legal issues and their experiences at the Court.
Students have offices located within the secured area for the judges and their staff. They have full access to a judicial library, the Alberta Law Libraries and major online legal resources.
What are the salary and benefits?
As of April 2012, the articling students' bi-weekly salary is $1,906.42. In addition, students are eligible for all the provincial employee benefits including medical, dental, life insurance, but not long term disability or pension. Students receive 10 vacation days during their 10 months of articles.
What are you looking for in the applicants you hire?
The students we hire must be of good character and repute and be fit to become members of the bar of Alberta. Emphasis in hiring is placed on academic performance and good character, as well as on research and writing skills, general motivation and work experience. The ability to produce high quality work under strict deadlines is required. The nature of appellate work usually requires a set of three judges, their legal counsel and judicial assistants to work on an appeal. Therefore, ideal students are those who will fit into a cooperative and collaborative work environment.
Does the Court arrange for my 5 months of articling with a law firm?
No. Students must make their own arrangements for the completion of their articling term with a law firm.
When is the starting date for articles?
In Edmonton, students start around the first of June.
In Calgary, start dates are flexible. The preference is for two students to start at the beginning of June and two either at the beginning of July or August.
Where can I get further information?
Interested applicants can contact our current students as well as our legal counsel. Please look under the separate heading Contact Us.